World Senior Snooker Championship: Jimmy White defeats Stephen Hendry and retains title at the Crucible

Jimmy White lifts the World Senior Championship trophy

Jimmy White retained his ROKiT World Senior Championship title after following up his victory over Stephen Hendry with a stunning comeback against Ken Doherty in a dramatic final.

The 'People's Champion' may not have had his usual fanbase roaring him on at the empty home of snooker but that didn't stop him overcoming the man who beat him in four of his six Crucible finals during the heyday of their rivalry in the early 1990s.

White won that contest 4-2 with the help of the tournament's sole century break of 130 and returned to the baize on Saturday night to face Ken Doherty, who'd earlier seen off fellow Irishman Michael Judge 4-1.

However, the Whirlwind got off to a nightmare start and struggled to produce anywhere near the same kind of form that had seen him win 12 of the 16 frames he'd played during the previous three rounds.

He managed just 31 points across the first four frames and the the 1997 world champion won the lot with breaks of 93 and 56 in the second and fourth respectively.

White came back out from the interval a much-improved player by halving the deficit to 4-2 before a dramatic topsy-turvy seventh frame looked set to go his way only for him to miss a routine final blue to the corner pocket when leading 58-55. Doherty pocketed it to set up match ball but his positioning on the pink was poor and missed it by a wide margin.

58-year-old made the most of his reprieve to close the gap to 4-3 and then forced a decider when a superb break of 79 punished Doherty, who had looked set to make a big score until his scoring visit frustratingly ended on 37.

White then completed the successful defence of the trophy he won for the first time in his career last year by compiling a brilliant break of 85.

The ever-popular Londoner picks up a cheque for £25,000 and earns a place in this November's prestigious Champion of Champions event, where the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan will be present.

White said: " knew that if I found a bit of form during the match I had a chance. Ken let me off a few times but once I got my first frame I settled. I felt really good at the end because I’m playing well in practice and playing well in the odd match.

"My form is there so I never gave up. It was a game of two halves as they say! Luckily enough Ken missed a few balls and I managed to win it. I still love practising and working on my technique. I’m reborn again with it because I had ten years when I was struggling. Now I’m back enjoying it and this is a great win for me."

Doherty said: "The match completely changed after the interval. I missed a few chances and Jimmy played really well. ‘It’s a bit heartbreaking because I wanted that trophy but that’s snooker. It can be cruel and it’s very disappointing for me. ‘I started to panic a little but and Jimmy was playing really well. You have to give credit to him."

Frame Scores (White first)

12-88; 2-107(93); 16-63; 1-117(56); 67-17; 71-14; 71-60; 79(79)-37; 108(85)-2

  • Scroll down for semi-final review

Semi-final review

Jimmy White gained a small measure of revenge over Stephen Hendry for all his Crucible heartache from the 1990s by defeating his old rival in the semi-finals of the World Senior Championship.

The six-time World Championship runner-up lost four of his finals against Hendry during the early 1990s (1990, '92, 93, '94) - the last of which being particularly agonising when being punished for a costly missed black in a famous deciding frame.

But White, who did beat the seven-time world champion 10-4 in their last meeting at snooker's spiritual home during the first round of 1998, was the stronger player on this occasion as he claimed a 4-2 victory that keeps alive his hopes of winning this title for the second year running.

The Whirlwind will now face Ken Doherty in tonight's final at 7pm, live on the BBC iPlayer.

White took a nervy opening frame 79-32 before the King of the Crucible threatened a maximum break in the next - which he went on to win 76-17 - only for the dream to end on 64.

The 1992 UK champion, who lost his other two Crucible finals to Steve Davis in 1984 and John Parrot in 1991, moved back ahead at 2-1 with runs of 39 and 37 before producing the tournament's first century break with a fine clearance of 130 after an early error by the Scotsman.

Hendry pulled one back with two breaks of 43 and 30 to overall his opponent's 52 but it would prove to be in vain as White's run of 55 in the sixth frame sealed his triumph.

It's the 58-year-old's third victory over Hendry in eight Crucible meetings overall having also won their first encounter 13-12 back in 1988, while their other clash was a 16-12 defeat in the 1995 semi-finals.

White has won this senior crown twice before, but his first against Steve Davis in 2010 was played at Bradford's Cedar Court Hotel. Last year's edition was the first time it was held at the Crucible.

“I’m playing okay and I’m into the final now,” said White after the win. “It’s always great to beat him because he’s such a great competitor. But I’m just trying to win this tournament.”

Doherty later set up a final with the Londoner as he defeated fellow Irishman Michael Judge 4-1 with a commanding display.

The 1997 world champion, now 50 years of age, took the opening frame with breaks of 46 and 47 before Judge restored parity with a run of 49 in the second.

Doherty took control with breaks of 60 and 85 in the next two frames before sealing it with the help of a 57 in the fifth.

“I’m just so excited to be in the final because Jimmy is a hero and a mate of mine,” said Doherty, who was also a World Championship runner-up twice in 1999 and 2003. “It’s a dream to play here – may the best man win.”

Semi-final frame scores

  • Jimmy White (Eng) 4-2 Stephen Hendry (Sco)
    79-32; 17-76(64); 76-5; 130(130)-1; 52(52)-77; 91(55)-9
  • Ken Doherty (Ire) 4-1 Michael Judge (Ire)
    25-93; 65-11; 0-99(60); 5-117(85); 46-76(57)

World Senior Championship Results

First round

  • Stephen Hendry (Sco) 4-3 Nigel Bond (Eng)
  • Wayne Cooper (Eng) 4-2 Gary Filtness (Eng)
  • Michael Judge (Ire) 4-1 Dennis Taylor (NI)
  • Ken Doherty (Ire) 4-3 Rodney Goggins (Ire)
  • Jimmy White (Eng) 4-1 Joe Johnson (Eng)
  • Darren Morgan (Wal) 4-2 Patrick Wallace (NI)
  • Aaron Canavan (Jer) 4-3 Leo Fernandez (Ire)
  • Peter Lines (Eng) 4-0 Tony Knowles (Eng)

Quarter-finals

  • Stephen Hendry (Sco) 4-1 Aaron Canavan (Jer)
  • Michael Judge (Ire) 4-1 Wayne Cooper (Eng)
  • Ken Doherty (Ire) 4-2 Darren Morgan (Wal)
  • Jimmy White (Eng) 4-1 Peter Lines (Eng)

Semi-finals (Saturday 12pm)

  • Jimmy White (Eng) 4-2 Stephen Hendry (Sco)
  • Ken Doherty (Ire) 4-1 Michael Judge (Ire)

Final (Saturday 7pm)

  • Jimmy White 5-4 Ken Doherty

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